Autumnal activities at Abinger Roughs

The sandy soil of Abinger Roughs make it an ideal spot for autumn days out. Enjoy the woods and the views and feel free to immerse yourself in all the colours and delights of this most magical of seasons.


For a general introduction to Abinger Roughs follow the posts around the Nature Trail, or for a more thorough exploration of the woods, follow our tree trail.

Photographic fungi safari 

The woodland areas across the Roughs is also marvellous for hunting fungi and lichens. Their shapes and colour make great images as they nestle into the surroundings. Sometimes they can be spotted sprouting up underneath trees, and other times you can spot them on the dead wood of a fallen tree, or pushing up in the grassland areas. Many fungi species respond to rain, so when there’s been shower, grab your boots, your camera and a guide book and see what you can capture.

Search for these:

  • Beard lichens. The wispy strands growing on tree bark are a sign of air purity and they provide cover for small bugs. Lichen are formed by the interaction of fungi and algae, and in the past were used as dyes for clothing.
  • Colourful fungi can be found amongst the leaf litter or on decaying wood in the broadleaf woodland - oaks, beeches, ash. Look out for yellow chicken in the woods, white candle snuff fungus, scarlet elfcap, blood red beefsteak fungus and black lumps of King Alfred’s cakes, looking like pieces of coal.
  • Conifer woodland. Hunt around to find shaggy parasol, the fascinating collared earthstar and the beautiful but poisonous fly agaric  

Natural play area

Not far from the car park is our natural play area filled with logs of varying shapes and combinations designed to encourage young ones test their climbing skills and balance. Simply follow the arrow at the back of the car park.

Play among the trees

As you explore the wider areas of Abinger Roughs, there are lots of places to get the family stuck into these activities:

  • Climb a tree. Scramble up and see how far you can go!
  • Collect fruits - nuts, acorns, berries. See how many you can collect and identify. Score extra points for the rare items - juniper berries, alder cones, wild cherry, yew berries. No matter how tasty they look, don’t eat unless you are sure they are safe. Some can cause an upset tummy.
  • Measure the  girth. Put your arms around the trunk and see how big it is. How many family  members have to join in to reach all around? Which is the fattest tree in the wood?
  • Hunt for bugs. Examine the bark and see what creepy-crawlies are there? What sort of tree has the most in number?
  • Bark rubbing. Take some paper and some crayons. Hold the paper onto the bark and rub to reveal the pattern. Which tree makes the most interesting pattern?
  • Last but not least. Go kick some autumn leaves! It’s the ultimate feel good, mood-lifting stress buster!  

Watch and listen for autumn birds

Autumn is a period when many birds become active again and as the leaves fall, they’re easier to spot. As you stroll see what you can find:

  • Buzzards. You can often hear the cat-lie cries of buzzards far above you as they soar in the sky
  • Kestrels. Easily identified as a small bird that hovers above the fields hunting for small mammals
  • Jays. A fast flying bird, often seen as a bight flash with a hint of blue as it dashes through the trees collecting acorns for the winter
  • Woodpeckers. The drumming of spotted woodpeckers in woods is unmistakeable. The chuckling ‘yaffle’ of a green woodpecker is also notable. They like to hunt for ants on grass, and will fly off when disturbed.
  • Owls. With the light falling earlier in the afternoon, you may catch some of the owls coming out to hunt. Look for the eerie whiteness of a barn owl, the chunky little owl or hear the haunting t’whit-t’woo of tawny owls. 
  • Winter visitors. As the season progresses and the temperature drops you may be lucky to see some of our regular winter visitors in the woods and open areas - bramblings, fieldfares and redwings. Look out for the dandy waxwings perching high, chomping greedily on rowan berries or hawthorns

On yer bike

There are a couple of bridlepaths that cross Abinger Roughs which with the hills and bumps of the ground, make great cycleways. This is a super way to also explore the surrounding countryside.